Crawford tabs NU as a favorite

St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) defensive back James Crawford has a great example to the defensive back he needs to be -- his uncle, Charles Woodson. Crawford has received strong interest as he enters his senior season.

James Crawford grew up with a perfect illustration of how to be a defensive back. A rising senior with St. Thomas Aquinas, Crawford is the nephew of eight-time NFL Pro Bowler Charles Woodson.

"He gave me a great example to go out and give it my all every time I touch the field," Crawford said of Woodson. "Just be the best."

Woodson has provided his nephew, a touted prospect, with some advice on the recruiting process.

"He told me that I would most likely be a big time recruit, so I have to take it slow and make sure I make the right decision," said Crawford.

Thus far, Crawford has racked up offers from Northwestern and UMass, plus he has received interest from Florida, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan and Virginia Tech.

Northwestern, the first school to extend a scholarship offer, stands barely above Miami and Michigan has Crawford's top school.

They were the first ones to recognize my talents," said Crawford.

NU assistant coach and Florida recruiter Marty Long has built a solid relationship with the defensive back. The two speak on a regular basis, talking about football and life.

Crawford has his eyes on a number of important characteristics as he eyes the right school. The top priority is something he believes the Wildcats offer.

"A good education; Northwestern has that," he said. "I want to come in and play early. I'd also like a good relationship with the coaching staff."

Crawford has planned out a timetable for his recruitment, but hopes his official visits can help narrow down his list.

"I would like to commit toward the end of the season," he said. "But before it's over with."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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